2017 Fall Undergraduate Research Student Poster Forum (11th)

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    The Impact of HIV Test Counselors in Iringa, Tanzania
    (2017-09-14) Brooks, Natalie; McDow, Thomas
    Quality care is necessary for those living with HIV/AIDS and also for people who are at risk for contracting the virus. With improvements of HIV testing techniques and strategies over numerous years, public health initiatives and education has improved the lives of many as well as decrease the risks of contracting HIV. HIV counseling and testing (HCT) is the key to proper intervention for HIV/AIDS in communities heavily impacted by the virus. HCT allows clients to become informed on their HIV status, the sessions encourage safer sex and provides resources to the client for care and treatment. Through counseling and testing offered to the public, HCT strategies can identify infected individuals, raise awareness and expand education to reduce HIV transmission. However, there is a gap between the older and younger population when utilizing resources that allow them to receive HCT resources. Here we show that this leaves the older population more at risk for becoming infected with HIV in Iringa, Tanzania. In the 50 closed-ended question surveys, it reveals 80% of the participants ages 18-30 have been tested for HIV before. HIV Test Counselors and other professionals in the medical field provided information explaining that clients seeking testing and barriers for sexual activities tend to be young adults and adolescence. These results and information provided demonstrates an increase in effectiveness in the younger population but is not getting older generations to seek testing and sexual health resources. Though the HIV prevalence is higher for ages 30-49, efforts have been switched to the younger population because 75% of new infections are in young women and adolescence in Sub-Saharan Africa. HCT techniques changed over time and caused a shift in the target population.
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    The moderating effect of stress on the relationship between air pollution and self-rated health in minorities
    (2017-09-14) Brown, Katie; Ard, Kerry
    Minorities have long been discriminated against in the United States, and redlining policies pursued in the 1920s-60s prevented African-Americans from moving outside polluted inner city neighborhoods. This policy resulted in the siting of many environmentally hazardous facilities in these neighborhoods, exposing racial minorities to increased levels of air pollution that persist to this day. Exposure to air pollution is associated with low birth weight, asthma, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and obesity. In addition to increased exposure to air pollution, minorities also experience higher levels of perceived discrimination, which is a reliable predictor of chronic stress. Chronic stress leads to constant output of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases blood pressure, insulin resistance, cholesterol, and weight, as well as decreases immune function, memory, and sleep quality. The effects of a lifetime of increased stress are hypothesized to compound the effects of disproportionate exposure to air pollution to impact all age groups, from infants to senior citizens, and make African-Americans more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and asthma than whites. These disparate health outcomes culminate in a 10% decrease in life expectancy for African-Americans compared to their white counterparts. This study aims to explore the effects of stress on the well-established relationship between air pollution exposure and health outcomes by analyzing self-reported health and stress data collected throughout Ohio. It is the researcher’s hope that controlling for stress in data analysis will increase the predictability of health outcomes when looking at populations with various levels of exposure to air pollutants. Establishing the effect of stress on this relationship could help explain variation in health outcomes among Ohioans, especially along racial and geographic lines. The findings could be used to target high risk populations, such as children and pregnant women, for public health interventions geared towards stress management and exposure reduction.
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    The Impact of Pazopanib on the Cardiovascular System
    (2017-09-14) Justice, Cody; Kempton, Amber; Musa, Hassan; Lancione, Peter; Cefalu, Matt; Jenssen, Paul; Mohler, Peter; Ho, Thai; Smith, Sakima
    Background: Pazopanib was FDA-approved in 2009 and has become the first line of treatment for renal cell carcinoma. Pazopanib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that slows tumor growth and angiogenesis by its action on vascular endothelial and platelet-derived growth factor receptors. Unfortunately, the efficacy of this drug is limited by its cardiovascular toxicity, including hypertension. Goal: Gain a greater understanding of the mechanism of these side effects in order to: 1) identify patients who are at higher risk; 2) develop strategies to mitigate cardiovascular toxicity; and 3) aid in future drug development. Hypothesis: The hypertensive effects of pazopanib are due to sustained activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). Methods: Wild type mice were dosed with 30 mg/kg of pazopanib twice daily for 42 days. Cardiac-specific beta-II spectrin knockout mice and flox control mice were dosed with 100 mg/kg once daily for 22 days, and an additional cohort was co-treated with Lisinopril (RAAS inhibitor). Blood pressures were monitored throughout treatment. Electrophysiological studies were conducted on isolated cardiomyocytes. Results: Pazopanib treatment led to an increase in blood pressure in all mice that received pazopanib. After 42 days, precursors to ventricular arrhythmias, such as delayed afterdepolarizations and prolonged action potential duration, were detected in cardiomyocytes. In mice that received 100 mg/kg of pazopanib, lisinopril co-treatment attenuated pazopanib-induced blood pressure rise and enlargement of the heart. Discussion: These results support our hypothesis regarding the involvement of the RAAS pathway, and validate the use of lisinopril for mitigating the hypertensive effects of pazopanib. Notably, the mechanism by which various tyrosine kinase inhibitors lead to hypertension may vary. Conclusion: Lisinopril is effective at attenuating the hypertensive effects of pazopanib, and it is worth determining whether the cardioprotective qualities of lisinopril are dependent upon blood pressure.
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    The African Slave Trade, American Slaves, and the Migration of Black Mythology
    (2017-09-14) Reinhard, Carley; Shaw, Stephanie
    During the 1930s, as part of the W.P.A. Federal Writer’s project, over 2,000 interviews of former slaves were completed. These interviews were transcribed and compiled into a grand collection of first-person accounts of all the former slaves who could be located at the time. Within many of these narratives, hundreds of accounts detail folktales the slaves grew up hearing in their communities. The development of these folk stories, which seem unique to African American slaves in their specifics if not in their generalities, reflect aspects of the larger development of African American culture that arose due to forced migration from Africa and, for some, their movement from the upper-South to the Lower South and Southwest as slavery expanded in the United States. Thus, these stories, along with other aspects of African American culture, arose in part as a product of the intersection of traditional African folklore and new circumstance. This research seeks to explore these stories, determining their origin and tracing their development and their dispersal. This will not only contribute to the current studies of the African Diaspora, but it will also contribute greatly to studies of the inter- and intrastate migrations of slaves that never delve into the culture of slaves and to the cultural studies of slavery that don’t pay much attention to the migrations of slaves. It is my hope through the course of this research to arrive at a more complete understanding of both the significance of African American folklore and the factors, including migration, that shaped it.
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    Assessing Blue Carbon Stock in Delaware's Tidal Marshes
    (2017-09-14) Hribar, Daniel; St.Laurent, Kari; Sutton-Grier, Ariana
    Coastal wetlands offer numerous ecosystem services, including the ability to trap and store carbon and are today increasingly susceptible to human and climate-related stressors. Consequently, interest has expanded in tidal wetland potential to help offset carbon emissions through sequestration and vertical sediment accretion collectively referred to as “blue carbon”. There is an ongoing need to quantify the accumulation and standing stock of carbon within these systems and to assess how environmental gradients, especially salinity, affect the variability of stocks within marshes of an intrastate region. This question was investigated through collection of sediment cores covering a salinity gradient of 0-35 ppt across the two sites comprising the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve. Cores were segmented into halves, dried at 105⁰C for 24 hours and homogenized. Bulk carbon was measured in triplicate using loss on ignition, the methodology of which was also tested to determine ideal time and temperature parameters. Results suggest that organic carbon density varies spatially and may possess a strong negative correlation with bulk density while the role of salinity remains uncertain. This work improves existing knowledge of Delaware-specific carbon stocks and sheds additional light on the use of environmental proxies for carbon storage extrapolation over un-sampled areas, further informing scientists, policymakers, and land-managers on the manifold benefits of tidal wetlands in the context of restoration and greenhouse gas sequestration potential. Determination of carbon stock and accumulation rates in Delaware marshes adds to the growing understanding of the role of such wetlands across North America and their prospective carbon storage characteristics.
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    Cytoglobin Expression Is Induced in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Through Endothelial Cell-Derived Notch Signaling: Implications of a Protective Role in Blood Vessel Function
    (2017-09-14) Dammeyer, Kristen; Lilly, Brenda
    Communication between endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells is required for normal blood vessel formation and function. My research focuses on understanding the molecular signaling pathways that govern cell-cell communication and maintain vascular function. The Notch signaling pathway is an established mediator in cell-cell communication. Notch signaling is activated in smooth muscle cells by adjacent endothelial cells and induces gene expression profiles that determine smooth muscle cell function. In this study, I identified Cytoglobin as a gene that is induced in smooth muscle cells by co-cultured endothelial cells. Cytoglobin is a hexa-coordinate hemoglobin that has been implicated in stress regulation through its modulation of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species. My data demonstrate that Cytoglobin is induced in smooth muscle cells via the Notch signaling pathway and that smooth-muscle expressed Notch receptors are both necessary and sufficient for Cytoglobin expression. Cytoglobin induction by endothelial-derived Notch signaling is altered when smooth muscle cells are cultured with nitric oxide modulators, hypoxia mimics, and reactive oxygen species. This alteration hints at Cytoglobin’s potential role in modulating redox stress. My findings thus far support the notion that endothelial cells induce Cytoglobin expression in smooth muscle cells as a means to regulate nitric oxide bioavailability in blood vessels. Further examination of Notch signaling and Cytoglobin expression in dysfunctional vessels may reveal novel targets for therapeutic intervention of vascular-associated diseases.
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    Progressing the Image to the Word: A Critical Study of the Cut-Ups
    (2017-09-14) Botkins, Zachary; Braun, Jolie
    William S. Burroughs began the eleventh lecture of his undergraduate course at the City College of New York by opening with, "In the last class we considered writing as a magical operation" (Burroughs). While he doesn’t define the "magic" of it, Burroughs continues to justify this statement by explaining that magical operations enable one to produce qualitative and quantifiable results to any given experiment. Burroughs also claims that this process of magical experimentation offers insight into generalized criteria for the evaluation of any given text; and that within the experiments themselves resides insight into how to produce successful writing. While Burroughs is often discussed in literary circles as a prominent pioneer in literary deconstructionism, I am interested in approaching Burroughs in quite the opposite way. I want to move Burroughs away from the label of "deconstructionist," at least in the general sense. Burroughs' efforts are often seen as postmodern movements towards abstracting the word from its meaning, but his constant attacks upon linear language, not language itself, offers another motivation. The extensive, and exhaustive process of trial and error in the cut-up method contextualized alongside the personal affinity that Burroughs had for Egyptian hieroglyphs, and his strong push towards imagism offers an alternative motive for Burroughs’ extensive application of the technique: reunification of image and language. Using the drafts available at the RBML, an extensive reading and transcribing of lecture notes, and an interview with James Grauerholz, Burroughs' editor and literary executor, I sought to create a comprehensive study of the cut-ups, their intentions, their misperceptions, and ultimately, the practicality of their use. By first exploring the origins of the cut-ups and then moving onto their methodology, I am able to contextualize the argument, and its counterpoints, presented within the third section of the paper.
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    Edaphic and morphological variance in running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum) ecology
    (2017-09-14) Kubesch, Jonathan; Barker, David J.
    A pH study seeks to expand on earlier edaphic investigations, determining the role in RBC growth. Additionally the study explores RBC’s potential soil acidification (Barker and Kubesch 2017, unpublished data). Determining pH optima would, with the additional of other ecological indicators, screen the range for potential remnant populations or selecting priority conservation sites (Burkhart et al 2013; Morris et al 2002). Habitat specificity produces management implications, and with pH determining nutrient availability, pH optima may also correlate with site suitability for edaphic manipulations (Hattenbach 1996; Brady and Weil 2010; Morris et al 2002). Since the primary threat to running buffalo clover is loss or modification of habitat (Selbo et al, 2015), one option for restoration of this species is identification of suitable areas for re-introduction. A morphological characterization study uses common agronomic and taxonomic characters to delineate populations across the Ohio and Kentucky portion of the species range as well as developed initial morphological documentation of underlying genetic diversity. This serves as a cost-effective screen for possible genetic studies as well as supported present efforts to assign management priorities to specific populations. Determining priority populations serves as a practical goal as funding becomes available for genetic investigation. A third study seeks to determine optimal transplantation protocols as well as the role of greenhouse intervention in in situ and ex situ conservation of running buffalo clover.Improving repatriation with this crucial step in propagation should increase success rates and allow researchers to factor in additional population biological information into such projects; logistical challenges overcome, larger genetic and ecological questions in restoration might be addressed.
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    The behavioral repertoire of one mandibular gland compound on Apterostigma dentigerum
    (2017-09-14) Mah, Jaime J. M.; Adams, Rachelle M. M.
    Social insects have evolved elaborate chemical communication systems that support sophisticated social structuring among nestmates. We therefore investigated the behavioral responses of Apterostigma dentigerum to one mandibular gland compounds, 3-octanone, along with ethanol as the control. This compound is one of eleven found in the mandibular glands of A. dentigerum. Typically, 3-octanone is combined with other compounds, in a myriad of concentrations, to cause alarm in the ants, and is found in nature in as human breath and sweat. We aim to determine if this shy species will exhibit alarm responses similar to other attines or if its behavioral repertoire is unique to its genus.
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    NAMPT inhibitor KPT-9274 as an alternative treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia
    (2017-09-14) Asmelash, Yerdanos; Mitchell, Shaneice
    Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a cancer characterized by abnormal cell growth of immature myeloid cells. Currently, AML is treatable in about 35 to 40% of adult patients who are 60 years or younger, and less favorable in patients who are 60 years or older where rates are 5 to 15%. In addition, most patients have multiple malignant clones of leukemic stem cells, each differing in their responses to treatment. However, studies have shown that inhibition of the enzyme nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) is a possible avenue for treatment of AML. NAMPT is responsible for the production of NAD+, a key metabolite needed for various cellular functions. By inhibiting NAMPT, NAD+ production is expected to decrease, thus resulting in cell death. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the ability of KPT-9274, a novel NAMPT inhibitor, to eradicate leukemic colonies in AML. To assess the ability of KPT-9274 to decrease colony formation, three AML leukemic patient cells were treated with KPT-9274. Cells were plated and incubated on a 6-well cell culture plate, along with a control group in a semi-solid medium. After two weeks, leukemic cell colonies were counted using an inverted light microscope. The cells were washed with 20% RPMI media, underwent a dilution process to achieve a desired amount of cells, and then re-plated to assess self-renewal capacity. Colony formation decreased in the three AML leukemic patient cells by 39.7 to 75.9%. These results are consistent with previous findings that support the drug’s potential to decrease NAD+ production, leading to decrease in colony formation. Self-renewal capacity of the three patients is currently being assessed. Overall, this study provides evidence that the NAMPT inhibitor, KPT-9274, is able to eradicate malignant clones found in AML patients that may lead to patient relapse.